Home > Uncategorized > The Great Scars of Mirrodin Update (A Proposal)

The Great Scars of Mirrodin Update (A Proposal)

Today is an unusual day: I don’t plan to review an individual card. While I’ll mention many, and discuss some of the reasoning behind changes, I won’t be diving deep and looking close. Please take a look at the changes I’m proposing and let me know if you agree.

I hope you’re ready because I’m not going to waste time.

Scars of Mirrodin – Proposed Pauper Cube Changes

MULTICOLOR:

  • Cutting ten cards, one from every color pair, to add two cards to each of white, blue, black, red, and green
  • (W) Added Kemba’s Skyguard to replace (UW) Ethercast Knight – the Skyguard is both life gain and evasion; the Knight never really mattered
  • (U) Added Sky-Eel School to replace (UB) Probe – a strong evasive body attached to a filter effect on a fair cost; Probe felt anemic without a body attached
  • (B) Added Grasp of Darkness to replace (RB) Igneous Pouncer – great removal replacing one of the last basic landcyclers left in from the last update
  • (R) Added Vulshok Heartstoker to replade (RG) Gorger Wurm – adding additional aggro support in red swapping out a mostly redundant creature
  • (G) Added Withstand Death to replace (GW) Thrill of the Hunt – creature pump upgrade in numerous ways
  • (W) Added Origin Spellbomb to replace (RW) Fire at Will – instant speed, card drawing creature seems more interesting than an awkward creature burn spell
  • (U) Added Æther Spellbomb to replace (UG) Temporal Spring – bounce or cycling is an interesting decision instead of tempo denial
  • (B) Added Necrogen Spellbomb to replace (WB) Pillory of the Sleepless – instant speed discard continues to push the subtheme of discard in black while providing cycling as the alternative; there is plenty of removal
  • (R) Added Pyrite Spellbomb to replace (UR) Ogre Savant – burn or cycling fits better into a curve that wants to keep mana open
  • (G) Added Horizon Spellbomb to replace (BG) Consume Strength – colorless land fetching that gets much better “on color” and even late in the game; there is plenty of removal and new creature pump spells coming in

ARTIFACT

COLORS:

And that’s it! Those are the changes I’m considering. Do you agree? Do you think I missed something? Check out the full pauper cube spoiler and tell me if I’m right, wrong, or some of both!

Believe me: I’m listening.

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  1. October 5, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Strange that you found Whispersilk Cloak lackluster. It’s a beloved card in my cube and I’d been very satisfied with it.
    As a topdeck, it usually turned clogged up games in a whim.

    • October 5, 2010 at 8:26 AM

      Clogged boards are pretty rare due to the amount of removal and evasion. There are really only a small handful of cards that simply win when paired with the Cloak; pumping and giving haste to any top decked creature is often exactly the kind of effect needed which is why Reckless Charge has been so successful for me. In any event if I miss the cloak or find it would be useful I can always just bring it back!

      • Sanders
        October 5, 2010 at 11:34 AM

        What other effects give shroud in your cube? I would think that would be the key thing that cloak is doing for you rather than the unblockable.

      • October 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

        Shroud was the highlight of Cloak for sure. The only other real source of shroud is Vines of Vastwood which, when used, is often a blowout against an opponent. The Cloak just felt clunky, especially when trying to get it online sooner to start using offensively. There are so many evasive creatures that it often felt redundant.

        “Protection from removal.” at sorcery speed never felt quite right, though I’m keeping my eye open to see how things look without the Cloak.

  2. Jesse
    October 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    I’ve been playing with the cube and tracking your changes.

    I think Whispersilk stays. It’s an all star and one of the few “uncommons” in the commons cube. The power level is way up there. With the changes to blue (more bodies/less spells), the cloak is going to be super solid. I don’t think red, black, or blue, needs strider harness; White doesn’t want it as much as green does, and while it seems good in an all in green creature deck, I think blue wants whispersilk cloak more.

    Pillory is awesome and I’m not sure I’d want to remove that either. This could be because I was recently blown out by it despite repeatedly bouncing it with capsize… Another reason capsize just isn’t as good as we all want it to be… Another story though.

    I agree Moriok Replica should come into the cube, but shade’s form is right on for colorpie/flavor/effect/strength. I like Shade’s form. More than the shade-on-a-stick effect, the recursion is great. I like black’s resilience with graveyard recursion more than I like discard.

    In general regarding Necrogen Spellbomb, with as small a cube as you’re going with, the discard sub-theme is a viable strategy, and adding more is good for that, but I feel the recursion of Shade’s form + other cards is another one of Black’s strengths.

    Everything else looks pretty good… I’m interested to see how it goes.

    Jesse

    @pluckmyeyeout on twitter

    • October 5, 2010 at 3:30 PM

      Thanks for the feedback; I’m actually very excited for yours since you basically copied my cube to work with it directly and you have a different playgroup’s experiences to share.

      You raise excellent points so my question becomes: what would you pull out to get Moriok Replica and Necrogen Spellbomb into black?

      White-black is a fairly uncommon combination and the cube is beginning to feel slightly removal-laden, though this is to be expcted when I pack in as many creatures and creature-answers as possible.

  3. Troy
    October 5, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Mostly these look like solid changes to me. I’m not a huge fan of the spellbombs, but you picked good ones and it’s fun to have a cycle of cards that hits all the colors. I like the move away from multi-colored cards. These cards, to me, feel like they force players into certain color combos or three-color decks. I would rather choose my own splashes than to have them chosen for me. Like others, I’m hard pressed to think of the harness in place of the cloak. It does seem to get into play and affect the board more rapidly though, and it’s fun to toss from creature to creature to keep the haste moving around.

  4. Usman
    October 7, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    >Cutting ten cards, one from every color pair, to add
    >two cards to each of white, blue, black, red, and
    >green

    Definitely like this change. 🙂

    >(W) Added Kemba’s Skyguard to replace (UW) Ethercast
    >Knight – the Skyguard is both life gain and evasion;
    >the Knight never really mattered

    Definitely like this change. I’ve usually held exalted creatures to the rule that they should be creatures that I want to use without really considering exalted and the only one that I’m running so far in commons is Akrasan Squire, since it bashes for 2 on turn 2 and is pretty solid other times, especially with white’s shadow creatures. I’ve never been too impressed with the knight, even though it’s something that, on paper, seems like it’d be quite good as something to hold the fort and give exalted to your other finishers.

    >(U) Added Sky-Eel School to replace (UB) Probe – a
    >strong evasive body attached to a filter effect on a
    >fair cost; Probe felt anemic without a body attached

    I like the addition of School, but I don’t think Probe’s the right cut. While it not affecting the board can suck, I’ve found that most of the time, the sheer amount of card selection and advantage more than makes up for it. I’d consider something like Dimir Infiltrator or Architects of Will to be cut over Probe (if I had to choose, infiltrator would be the pick, it seems pretty weak compared to the other options and UB isn’t really the color that values unblockability.)

    >B) Added Grasp of Darkness to replace (RB) Igneous
    >Pouncer – great removal replacing one of the last
    >basic landcyclers left in from the last update

    I like it. 🙂

    >(R) Added Vulshok Heartstoker to replade (RG) Gorger
    >Wurm – adding additional aggro support in red
    >swapping out a mostly redundant creature

    At first I thought that this was Vulshok Replica and thought that it was good, but I saw then that it was Heartstoker and I’m not really a fan of it. I think Inner-Flame Acolyte is a much better version of the effect, especially since it can swing for 4 if there aren’t other creatures to pump (although admittedly, I’ve never really used its evoke, its use upon casting is more than good enough.) I think Gorger Wurm’s the right call for a RG cut.

    >(G) Added Withstand Death to replace (GW) Thrill of
    >the Hunt – creature pump upgrade in numerous ways

    Not really a fan of cutting Thrill either, as I think there are a good amount of GW cards that are weaker – Sigiled Behemoth, Selesnya Evangel and Sigil Blessing (Blessing would definitely be my cut.) Thrill’s pump is solid enough on initial casting but tends to make combat math suck when in the grave (somewhat like Kabuto Moth in play) and I think Blessing’s pretty overcosted for its effect.

    Similarly with Withstand Death, I don’t really think that it’s an upgrade at all, Vines of Vastwood and Groundswell are much much better (especially Vines.) It helps creatures survive trades, but I don’t necessarily think that it’s an upgrade vs making a creature able to kill another (like being able to attack with a 2/2 profitably into a 3/3.) I think that it’s fine, but I think that it’s pretty marginal an add.

    >W) Added Origin Spellbomb to replace (RW) Fire at
    >Will – instant speed, card drawing creature seems
    >more interesting than an awkward creature burn spell

    I can get behind the Fire cut, leaving mana up can be really awkward, like with Neck Snap effects. I’m not super huge on the Spellbomb, though, it seems a pretty inefficient use of mana, essentially a 2W Elvish Visionary whose cost can be split across turns. Reminds me of Executioner’s Capsule, in a way – the additional mana doesn’t quite seem worth being able to split it.

    >(U) Added Æther Spellbomb to replace (UG) Temporal
    >Spring – bounce or cycling is an interesting decision
    >instead of tempo denial

    Similarly with Aether Spellbomb, I don’t think that it’s good enough due to its high cost. Blue tends to value cycling effects higher than other colors but I think Spellbomb’s still too pricey for its bounce effect. I’d also rather cut Winged Coatl than Temporal Spring, it’s nice in that Coatl can at least attack (over Neck Snap effects, which Coatl essentially is) but I don’t think it’s efficient enough.

    >(B) Added Necrogen Spellbomb to replace (WB) Pillory
    >of the Sleepless – instant speed discard continues to
    >push the subtheme of discard in black while providing
    >cycling as the alternative; there is plenty of
    >removal

    Not really a fan of either of these, Putrid Warrior seems like the better cut as it’s a pretty marginal creature as is. Pillory is solid and despite the fact that black/white has a lot of removal, I think that the “bleed” effect from Pillory complements BW aggro strategies pretty well and is good enough in control decks as well. Conversely, I don’t really see a home for Putrid Warrior as I don’t think that it’s good enough for BW aggro decks. Similarly, I don’t think that the black spellbomb is good enough at all, I’d rather use something like Funeral Charm for instant-speed discard and think that 1B is pretty overcosted for one-time discard, even if it can be cycled. I think that Moriok Replica is a much better black artifact addition.

    >(R) Added Pyrite Spellbomb to replace (UR) Ogre
    >Savant – burn or cycling fits better into a curve
    >that wants to keep mana open

    Ogre Savant cut looks good, especially with Aether Adept giving blue another bounce effect. But I don’t think Pyrite’s good enough. Similar complaints with other spellbombs and I think that Vulshok Replica is miles better. Red already has a ton of efficient burn and I don’t think that it needs the Spellbomb at all (there aren’t many protection guys in the format that spellbomb can hit.)

    >(G) Added Horizon Spellbomb to replace (BG) Consume
    >Strength – colorless land fetching that gets much
    >better “on color” and even late in the game; there is
    >plenty of removal and new creature pump spells coming
    >in

    Not really a fan of the green spellbomb either, I think it costs too much to use effectively, even when it draws a card, I don’t think that it’s a good use of mana, especially since green has abundant ways to manafix with 2-for-1s like Harrow/Reach/Tusker. I think that Hag’s a better BG cut since although Gravedigger’s a strong card, I think that with a section this small, Consume fits better. While there is a lot of pump and removal, I haven’t had many times when Consume felt inefficient.

    >Added Perilous Myr to replace Moonglove Extract – a
    >body with a bonus that makes combat awkward is more
    >interesting than an expensive, colorless Seal of Fire

    Definitely a good change. 🙂

    >Added Strider Harness to replace Whispersilk Cloak –
    >the Harness reminds me of a repeatable Reckless
    >Charge while the Cloak did little to board state on >top deck

    Definitely like Strider Harness… but not so much removing Cloak. It’s probably better in control-based archetypes, but I don’t think that it’s weak at all and don’t find the argument of its board state on a topdeck very relevant since the same could be essentially said of any equipment, although Harness is one of the better ones for strapping onto a creature for an effect. I’d probably cut Viridian Longbow or Yotian Soldier instead, since they’re both pretty inefficient (moreso the Longbow than the soldier.)

    >(U) Added Plated Seastrider to replace Cloudskate –
    >an early defensive body that can stay for a longer
    >game feels right over a temporary 2/2 with evasion

    I think I like Giant Tortoise better, but Seastrider’s Solid.

    >(B) Added Moriok Replica to replace Shade’s Form –
    > Night’s Whisper on a body feels better than an
    > awkward to use “make a critter a Shade” aura

    Didn’t see this when recommending Replica, but I think that Shade’s Form could go to bring Twisted Abomination back in. I definitely consider Abom one of the better black finishers, even without its landcycling which is essentially gravy and think that its inclusion is just about an auto-include.

    >(R) Added Vulshok Replica to replace Chartooth Cougar
    >– an aggressive burn spell on-a-stick finally removes
    >the last basic landcycler

    Same with not seeing before – oops! 🙂 Although I think that I’d add Flameborn Hellion here, its size is pretty huge. Similarly to Ulamog’s Crusher, I think that the having to attack thing won’t really be too much of a drawback since it will almost never die in combat, at least, profitably. Dies to removal, but I think that it’s strong enough to use (and its having haste is HUGE.) I can definitely get behind cutting the Cougar, as I recently cut it from my commons cube, I think that in the grand scheme of things at 6 mana, Cougar doesn’t do enough.

    >(G) Added Sylvok Replica to replace Centaur Courser –
    >flexible Naturalize on-a-stick is more engaging than
    >a 3/3

    Not a fan of either the addition or removal. Courser’s boring, for sure, but I think that it’s a very efficient creature in the format, only really outclassed by things like Skittering Horror, Hungry Spriggan and Spur Grappler for pure power for the cost at 3 mana. Similarly, I think that the replica isn’t good enough, green already has Wickerbough Elder and Nantuko Vigilante (as well as Mold Shambler, but it’s 6 mana) for the cost and they both are miles better than the replica.

    >(G) Added Untamed Might to replace Wildheart Invoker
    >– surprise “green Fireball” is harder to avoid than
    >the telegraphic Invoker

    Also not a fan of either change. Untamed Might requires a TON of mana to be useful – getting outclassed by Giant Growth, Groundswell and Vines of Vastwood. It may have surprise factor for an insta-win sometimes, but it requires a lot of mana to be better than something like Vines and I’d rather have one of those in my final 40 due to their general efficiency than Might. While the Invoker can be seen from a mile away, its body is pretty solid at 4 power at 4 mana (I can’t think of many other 4 power creatures at 4 other than Rhox Brute, Spriggan [at 3] and Blastoderm) and I consider its overrun ability to be gravy – if it happens or the opponent has to kill it for fear of being overran next turn, even better!

    • October 7, 2010 at 8:57 PM

      I did read the arguments about Cloak in the Strider Harness post and I can see what you mean now with relevancy (because something like a Tribe-Elder isn’t going to be that effective on an empty board, even if it’s unblockable and has shroud.) I think that which equipment is better depends on the deck – for aggressive beaters, the +1/+1 and haste is better (especially if the creature is something like a 2/1) whereas in midrange/control decks, the shroud/unblockability is better for those decks.

      I have been considering running Neurok Stealthsuit in blue, since shroud is the better part of the equipment and Stealthsuit’s pretty cheap.

      • October 7, 2010 at 11:17 PM

        I’m actually willing to compromise. Neurok Stealthsuit basically reads as “UU: Counter target removal spell.” which is infinitely useful for control decks. I could consider putting that in instead of the blue Spellbomb. Although to be fair I am rather partial to complete cycles where possible.

        I’m looking over your input, as well as that of others, regarding the changes proposed to finalize everything in a few days. I wish that I always had extra time for cube work!

  5. Sanders
    October 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    I like this also because it helps to strengthen blue in your cube which you have admitted to be lacking. But can still be used by any deck.

  1. October 5, 2010 at 9:43 PM
  2. October 6, 2010 at 11:46 PM
  3. October 8, 2010 at 12:18 AM

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